While we were visiting the Guncles in Jacksonville before Christmas, we drove by the Embassy Suites on our way to the airport.
Years and years ago, I'd painted a mural around their pool, and we stopped in to see if it was still there.
It is and has held up just wonderfully!
This was a large project, but was a fast one. I'm trying to remember how long I spent on it, but since it was so long ago, I'm fuzzy on the details. But typically, something like this only took a few days or so.
In the past, I used to travel around and do lots of murals in bars, restaurants, dozens and dozens of day cares, plus in private homes. I loved doing it, and was pretty quick, in and out in a day for most jobs.
I sure am NOT that fast anymore. This painting took me weeks, but it was hanging in my garage and I could work on it in little snatches of time here and there. Plus, I was entranced by the whole theme and really enjoyed sneaking off into a fairytale forest for an afternoon getaway of painting. And it is a more finished piece than the fish picture. Painting just for the pure love of painting is diferent than painting for a client and a budget.
For the hotel painting, the background was painted blue before I got there and I was just adding fish over it.
I did use a deeper blue washed over the base color at the ocean floor.
Painting over the heavily textured walls was a challenge. Most of the creatures had to be planned to fit into the plaster pattern. I always did faces first, fitting it into the smoothest spots and working the body in around it.
Even all these years later, I remember working around that rough texture. Also trying to balance on a ladder in a planter as it kept sinking into the dirt.
And getting up my nerve to climb up the scaffolding that was perched across the pool at this end.
I'm not good with heights at all. I packed a lunch and a bottle of water and stayed up on the scaffold all day because I was too chicken to climb down. But the biggest problem with being on a scaffold for me is that once I get involved with working, I start to forget how high up I am and almost topple off the edge when I step back to take a look at the painting!
All of my work is done freehand, with no sketching. Which is a good thing, since I had to work around the plaster textures and fit the fish in where they went best with the rough walls.
Can you see the hidden mermaid in this closeup? I didn't remember doing that, but Guncle Randy reminded me that I hid a few in the painting. I could only find this one.
I dont' think I was as successful with the plaster problem with this birds. The one on the left has a slash across it's neck.
It meant a lot to me, that my husband turned off the highway and stopped at this hotel to take a look at the mural. These mural jobs that I used to do, maybe weren't high class paintings, but they sure were fun jobs and I was lucky enough to keep pretty busy with them. It felt good to look back at this one and not cringe, like I sometimes do with my older art.
It is far, far from perfect, but I can accept it as doing what the client wanted and be happy with the outcome. Of course, I'd like it better if I'd had a couple weeks for each wall instead of a few hours. But I'm proud of the fact that I could whip these paintings out in a short enough time to make it profitable for me to do.
All these fishies are timely for me right now. As you read this, I hope to be snorkeling. My husband and I are off to Hawaii for a visit with his dear sis, Terry and her husband.
Although, I am a bit worried about this kind of fish. Did you hear about the number of shark attacks off of Maui in 2013???? Two deaths, one near the beach we use.
Hopefully I won't be adding to those statistics. And 2014 will be a better year for swimmers in Hawaii. I'm going to be brave and not let the number of bites stop my water sport fun!
Although, I might be looking over my shoulder a bit, into the waves behind me...